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Daily Mail Interviews Tobias Sherman, Former Head of Esports for WME | IMG, Regarding New Company

EKC PR secured an interview for client Tobias Sherman with the Daily Mail, … read on

Daily Mail Interviews Tobias Sherman, Former Head of Esports for WME | IMG, Regarding New Company

EKC PR secured an interview for client Tobias Sherman with the Daily Mail, where he discusses his brand new Esports company, Foundry IV. Check out the article below! 

Tobias Sherman speaks about Foundry IV’s rebellious game that is breaking all the rules to revolutionise esports

  • Sherman is the former head of esports for WME | IMG and co-founded ELEAGUE
  • He and three other staff members at WME | IMG left the company earlier this year
  • Together, they have founded a new esports-focussed game studio: Foundry IV 

10:16 EST, 30 November 2017

Esports were changed forever when Riot Games chose to put a huge investment into the competitive scene of League of Legends.

Now we see hundreds of people making a good living from competing in video games professionally. A game like Overwatch, which was only released two and a half years ago, has professional sports teams paying $20million (£14.8m) just to have a team in their esports league.

We’ve all been watching esports to grow and waiting for it to explode into the mainstream, but those big developments don’t come without risk. That’s something Tobias Sherman and his team at Foundry IV perfectly understand. 

Foundry IV is a new games studio which was launched earlier this month. It was founded by the four employees who earlier this year left the esports division of WME | IMG: one of the biggest talent agencies in the world who own UFC and helped to create the ELEAGUE alongside Turner.

Tobias Sherman, who was their global head of esports, says Foundry are doing something that has never been done before: ‘We want esports to be the primary focus from the ground up. That’s why we want to design our own game, to remove all the limitations that we’ve had to deal with, with publishers.’

‘I think game publishers love esports as only a secondary source of revenue for them and don’t really have any intention of sharing other titles or profits from the game itself because they don’t have to.’

And another thing they’re doing differently to publishers is they are giving control of their esport to the team owners themselves. Usually we see game publishers only act within their own interest and rule their esports leagues/tournaments with an iron first.

By giving power to the teams, Foundry IV should be able to attract a great deal of interest from big-time investors who would be given a lot more control around their future and success in the scene.

Foundry IV are very aware of how crucial community interest is to the success of an escort

Foundry are also working with brands to see how they can be incorporated into things such as maps in the game but insist this will only be done in a way that isn’t obtrusive to players.

The team has a mountain of a task on their hands. Typically, a game has become an esport due to a large community-driven interest in watching and competing in the game. That’s something that Sherman is fully aware of and is ready to embrace: ‘Unlike some Triple A publishers, we’re very responsive to the community.

‘We understand that puts us out there in a very big way and the community may call us out for making mistakes in the gameplay but that’s a good thing, we should be! We should be accountable and responsive to that – we’re not going to hide behind a curtain for five years and put millions of dollars into the marketing budget and hope it’s a hit.’

That’s something gamers will be delighted to hear, we’ve seen from EA Sports what happens when you don’t listen to community feedback. And fans will also be happy to hear that the game will be free to play.

Although, Sherman says there may be a charge to play the game in early access but there’s a big reason behind that which is again aimed at the community: ‘We’re doing things differently as we want to develop this game openly, with community feedback.

Games like PUBG prove that even games in early access can be successful and be an escort

‘We’ll put it out there early and say: listen, this is early, it’s not going to look or feel good and we know this isn’t the usual way to do this but we trust the community knows best where to take this game.’

It’s a brave and incredibly risky move from them. We’ve seen how toxic communities can be and how vocal minorities aren’t always the best representatives. In effect, Foundry IV may have picked their own poison. 

However, that’s an issue they are obviously aware of this. The core team have worked together in esports for around a decade and know better than anyone what has to be done to succeed.

And according to Sherman, there’s one of their team members in particular who will be crucial to this process: ‘At the centre of all this is our CTO Simon Abitbol, he has accolade after accolade. 

‘You’re talking about the guy who had the motivation to create Hearthstone as an esport, he created the first observer mode for the game before you ever saw people compete in Hearthstone at that initial Blizzcon in which he produced that stream. He designed the format for Eleague.’

Sherman wouldn’t reveal what type of game Foundry IV are making but said it will be a ‘blend of genres with a traditional sport influence.’ Nobody knows how the game will turn out and you can never guarantee success – but Foundry IV have all the tools they need and are going into this from a unique and exciting angle. Only time will tell if this will pay off.

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